CORDIS - EU research results

Bio-pesticide from a strain of Bacillus licheniformis for the control of major pests in different cultures

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ASALVO (Bio-pesticide from a strain of Bacillus licheniformis for the control of major pests in different cultures)

Reporting period: 2015-10-01 to 2016-03-31

The objective of Asalvo is to develop all the necessary stages to introduce in the market a bio-pesticide with a proved efficacy in the control of Aphids affecting some of the most important cultures in the world. This bio-pesticide, developed from a strain of Bacillus licheniformis, which is property of Symborg, is able to replace the chemical pesticides that currently dominate on the market, providing a bio-product with improved environment and food safety features that avoids also the problems that legal restrictions on the use of chemicals are causing on farmers’ practices. The use of this product will provide farmers with effective and environment-friendly alternatives to cope with pests like aphids and trips even under more restricted environmental regulations. On the other hand, consumers would have healthier and safer food products available.
The company, Symborg, is leader in agricultural biotechnology research, development and innovation. The company is dedicated to the development and commercialization of bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides for use in agriculture, while overcoming the challenges of environmental sustainability.
The work performed in phase I has been aimed at identifying the size of potential market in 14 different countries, developing more than 30 individual interviews with local distributors and farmer in each market and assessing the resources needed to enter these markets. On the other hand, a business plan has been developed in order to design the market uptake stages, setting two different scenarios: the first one with the support of SME instrument phase II and the second one only with SYMBORG’s own resources.
The results of this work has been the precise selection of target markets, grouped in several stages, which are defined not only due to the resources needed but also due to the regulatory issues, which are quite different in Europe from other countries.
On the other hand, one of the main achievements of the work done has been the precise knowledge gained regarding the regulatory processes, defining precisely the steps, time and investment needed to achieve the register of the products.
The work developed during the Phase 1 has followed the main tasks described in the proposal approved, and the main activities are described individually:

- Definition of pest incidence and pesticide market volume in different crops and in countries already pre-identified.

- Development of specific market niche and regulatory issues studies;

The market study, with individual approaches to the main countries and markets envisaged and achieving useful information on why, where and how to reach these markets was developed in 13 countries. In these countries Symborg developed deeper analysis including the next information:
 Study on the main crops and selection of targeted crops;
 Assessment of market volume for each targeted crop;
 Identification of regulatory processes;
 Identification of the main stakeholders for each crop (distributors, growers, competence) and selection of individual stakeholders to reach;
 Individual approach to selected stakeholders, including in-depth interview.
 Analysis of information achieved and strategic analysis (GO/NO GO);
 Incorporation of information for business plan.

. The deep studies showed that the initial studies on countries/areas and the selection of specific areas were right. :
 Asalvo is a product of great interest for growers and distributors, some of them already expressing willingness to distribute the product and even support the regulatory processes;
 There is a lack of similar solutions for the pest management in key crops with huge market volume;
 Regulatory processes are the key elements.

At the end of the study, 6 countries/areas (Europe,starting in Poland, France and Spain), USA (starting in California), Mexico and Chile, would be the first market targeted.
Regarding the main risks identified, the most important ones are:
 Related to the registration processes, a rejection or extension of the time needed, which can compromise the market uptake of Asalvo;
 Related to the commercial processes, to be copied by other companies or to have problems with distributors in strategic areas;
 Related to other regulatory steps, when entering the product to another country, custom regulations can imply additional taxes that impact on the competitiveness of the product.
 It is stated that ASALVO will be the most important product (in terms of sales and reputation) of all the subsidiary companies of Symborg and will strengthen and optimize the commercial network, increasing also the interest of distributors on the company products.
 Additionally, it will provide resistance to the company in the markets, since with ASALVO, Symborg will be more resilient to variations in regulation, policies or competence products that could affect to its traditional activity (biostimulants).
 On the other hand, the registration processes are the limiting factor for the market uptake of Asalvo, whose former products were mainly bio-stimulants, which didn’t need this long and expensive registration process. Moreover, this process is more complicated in Europe than in USA or other countries, and this also makes a difference regarding the market uptake strategy. This is due to the need of developing a double stage process in Europe, where it is necessary to register both the active substance and the commercial product, while in the USA it is necessary only to develop one of these processes and, in addition to this it is normally a faster process.
 Finally, the rapid growth of Symborg needs the reinvestment of all the benefits the company achieves. This way, it is difficult for the company to afford the long investment needed for developing the registration processes of ASALVO, taking into account that the product couldn’t be on the market before 24 months (USA, Mexico, Chile, Peru) or 48 months (Europe), and this would affect seriously the current market uptake process of other products from Symborg. To solve this, additional resources are needed.